The National Safety Council (NSC) recognizes June as National Safety Month, a time to reflect and reassess safety programs and practices in homes and workplaces. This year, National Safety Month occurs at an especially unique time. As the nation and the world faces the threat of COVID-19, it is now more important than ever to advocate for safety.
National Safety Month addresses universal hazards that individuals face each day, and new health concerns are now occurring because of the global pandemic. It is not just business owners and their teams that can benefit from this invaluable information. After all, slip and fall accidents, motor vehicle accidents, and other serious accidents can happen to anyone.
Car Accidents Contribute to Many Job-Related Fatalities
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle accidents were the leading cause of job-related deaths in 2017. Car accidents continue to be one of the leading causes of work-related deaths. Additionally, distracted driving is behind many of these unfortunate, preventable crashes.
Taking your eyes off the road or your hands off of the wheel for even just a few seconds is enough to cause a catastrophic collision. Whether it is sending a text, eating a meal, or turning to talk to a passenger, any activity that takes your focus off driving is a deadly distraction. To combat distracted driving on the job, the NSC suggests clear and concise policies:
- No electronic devices to be used while driving, including hands-free use.
- No answering calls while driving.
- No reading or replying to texts or emails while driving.
- Employees should park and pull over to call 911 in an emergency.
While these tips are for those that drive for a living, anyone who drives should avoid using a cellphone while behind the wheel.
What Hazards Do Workers Face While Driving?
Distracted driving poses a considerable risk to everyone on the road; however, it is not the only cause of motor vehicle accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) addresses some of the other unsafe behaviors that lead to traffic accidents and injuries:
- Aggressive driving: Tailgating, weaving in and out of lanes, speeding, screaming, honking, and flashing lights at other drivers.
- Impaired driving: Driving under the influence of alcohol or legal and illegal drugs.
- Restraint use: Improperly using seat belts and other restraints or not using them at all raises the risk of serious injuries.
- Speeding: Speeding increases the risk of a crash and adds force to the impact, making injuries more likely.
Mental Health Greatly Impacted by COVID-19
As restrictions begin to lift across the country, it is a good time to check-in and assess our own mental health, and the mental health of our friends, family, and colleagues. The COVID-19 pandemic led many to shelter in their homes across the country, and this seclusion impacted the mental health of many Americans. Social distancing can also lead to feelings of isolation.
Many people have either lost their jobs or have been required to work from home, which presents its own changes. The elderly and others with underlying health conditions may feel especially fearful or anxious about possible exposure to the virus. Children can feel lonely or withdrawn from the lack of contact with friends and teachers.
It is important that all workers, especially those in health-related industries, have good mental health during this trying time. The NSC offers a wealth of resources for mental health education and support related to COVID-19:
- Stay informed: Choose reputable sources for updates on the pandemic. At the same time, it is equally important to take in information and then turn off the television or go offline to take a break from the news, which can increase anxiety and worry.
- Anticipate and manage stress: Know your triggers and take steps to avoid them. Make self-care a part of your routine by including time to do something that makes you feel good. Cooking a meal, reading a book, or calling a friend can remain you remain positive.
- Follow good hygiene: Frequent handwashing, face coverings, and social distancing are few recommendations for staying healthy. Follow safety tips and CDC guidelines to educate others and to continue to flatten the curve.
What are Overexertion Injuries?
Overexertion is another leading cause of injury among all age groups and workers. In regard to work accidents, overexertion causes more than one-third of all work injuries. Injuries of the muscles, tendons, nerves, and joints can be caused by the following:
- Repetitive motion, leading to repetitive motion injuries
- Standing or sitting for long periods of time
- Temperature extremes
- Excessive pushing, pulling, stretching, or lifting
Overexertion is not just limited to the factory floor or construction site. You can suffer an overexertion injury in many other industries or while performing tasks at home, such as garden work or remodeling. Fortunately, overexertion injuries are among the easiest to avoid with a bit of extra care and caution. The following includes some ways to prevent overexertion injuries:
- Take breaks from sustained positions at least every 20 to 30 minutes.
- Limit the amount of time you perform a certain repetitive task.
- Plan your approach to lift objects and use your legs to lift instead of your back.
If you start to feel any numbness, tingling, or pain, see your doctor before a minor problem becomes a serious injury.
What Should I Do If I am Injured at Work?
During National Safety Month, it is important to learn about common hazards in the workplace and at home in order to prevent them from happening. Even while practicing safety precautions, accidents can still happen. If a worker is injured at work or performing a work-related task outside of work, he or she is entitled to workers’ compensation. After a worker suffers a work injury, it is important to seek legal counsel. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer will protect the rights of the worker and make sure that he or she obtains necessary compensation.
Cherry Hill Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks, LLP Advocate for Injured Workers During National Safety Month
If you are suffering from a job-related injury, one of our experienced lawyers can help you today. Our Cherry Hill workers’ compensation lawyers at Pietras Saracino Smith & Meeks, LLP protect injured workers and help them obtain compensation. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 856-761-3773. Located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we help injured workers throughout South Jersey, including Camden, Cinnaminson, Delran, Maple Shade, and Pennsauken.